18 August 2010

No more excuses.

I have this tendency to evaluate my appearance, my body, my style, etc. very harshly. I intensely dislike photos of myself and I am constantly striving to take at least one "pretty" one so my kids will remember me when I was young as fun and attractive (and this is anywhere - if I'm baking cookies and notice my hair looks good, I may prompt hubby to snap one - or if we're out and I feel like I actually like what I have on, I may ask for another quick candid - usually one of my eyes looks bigger than the other - you can see my gray streaked ugly ash brown roots or I have yet another breakout - Ooooo - worse, I look fat .... AGAIN). Vain? No. Silly? Probably. Deluded? Yes.

And... by deluded - I mean on both ends. There are days that I think I look fabulous and... in hindsight - I wonder how I did not manage to embarass Olivia - repulse hubby and / or make my little ones laugh at me. Other times, I look at a photo from just a few years ago when I was lamenting a bad haircut, feeling chubby and hating my outfit, AND... oddly.... now I think I look great - and so does hubby - and Olivia - and my Mom (now that's sayin' something).

I've been many things - lipsticked, dressed up dancer in my high-heeled Frye boots by day - my appropriately ripped up sweats and leg warmers by night - ballet bun and / or long, loose curls - nails were always done - eye shadow always 80s funky - and the jewelry - oh the rings and ear piercings... 7 total. I then went punk - hair long in the front, shaved in the back a la skate punk style (and skating those empty swimming pools and long, flat city steps WAS fun, wasn't it? As were the hardcore shows - alternative dance nights with my "Waver" friends....) - army jackets - pegged jeans - converse sneaks - black everything - shirts, skinny skirts, baggy sweats - Oh - and combat boots and Doc Martens (I still take my old buckled Docs out now and then and caress and care for them :-). I even entered a crunchy, hippy, granola stage - living at the oceanfront, I was all long, straight, sunstreaked hair - no makeup - sunglasses - flip flops - bells and braided bracelets on my ankles - back pack - hiking shorts (and, yes, I hiked and ran during this time - a 5K - an 8K - one scary Maine rock climbing trip - another scary white water adventure in WVA) - a little fairy wish bell around my neck - crystals.... In fact, I sometimes freak a little - thinking people still see me as the bohemian, gypsy type, and... I want a little more from my style than that. By contrast, those who knew me as the professional, remember a designer obsessed chick with short, choppy hair - chunky silver jewelry - lots of boots and heels - ALWAYS solid colors (no prints here), and... that's not really me either (I blame the ad, pr and marketing industry).

Now? I don't know. I suspect I may be all of those things. I wear old punk rock t-shirts to work out at the gym. For simplicity, I usually just grow my hair long - but end up hacking at my bangs or my layers myself - having expensive colorists add color that I end up hating. I do wear flip flops, long skirts and tie dyes in the summer - usually no make up - AND in the winter, I'm all scrunchy UGGS, clingy skirts or yoga pants, puffy jackets and funky scarves with bright lipstick and sunglasses. I am, admittedly, a little boring. Every now and then, I buy a cool pair of earrings that my long, stringy hair hides or I buy a new pair of shoes that I end up never wearing. I usually blame time - even lack of interest (house and kids making me crazy), but... I'm finding that I have no excuses.

I hang with some people at the pool who do their workout and show up, kids in tow, hair pushed back - requisite yoga pants or Athleta workout skirts over their faded bathing suits and they work it and they look good. I went to drop my Olivia at a friend's house to babysit the other night, and "the dad" showed up at the front door looking nothing like a dad but more like a teenager with his baseball hat on backwards - long baggy b-ball shorts on - bare feet. Could I pull that off? No. Can all these cute boys - my hubby included - who wear it all with confidence and bravado pull it off? Yes. My neighbor just shaved her head and it looks fabulous, so... there goes my "I can't have style because nothing is low maintenance" excuse (and, yes, M, I am shaking my fist at you right now - I know you're out picking peaches, but I'm shaking it - you just can't see me ;-). Another friend just dropped over 20 pounds in LESS THAN a summer, so.... again.... what's my excuse? I eat what the kids do.... blah blah blah - she has a kindergartner too!

I'm beginning to wonder if maybe confidence is what it takes to pull anything off AND that's precisely what I need to work on. Plus - I do need to get my hair cut every now and then - buy myself a lipstick or a shirt. I'm into this self-deprivation thing right now, and it is just NOT working for me.

Photos: Easter. A perfect example of what I mean. We took tons of photos. In each one, I look horrible for varying reasons. With Olivia - eyes closed (though, I am in heels - she in flats - so I look tall - I can't stand it when I look like a troll with all these middle school girls towering over me). With Lil - fat. Close up with Lil - fat - and what is UP with my hair?! Group photo... um.... look OK but why is everyone fighting and running from us? I included a "booty shot" - yes, my butt - in the mirror - a "before" photo for my workout progress. Need I say more? I often like the self-portraits that my kids take. I have a "witch" nose and chin, but... these photos look like ME - they capture my essence, I think - good or bad. And, yes - I included one of my famous self-portraits - ugly but I dig it (see my evaluation techniques are rather odd :-). And... finally... the family photo shoot - have said it before, will say it again - I look baaaad - everyone else looks fantastic. I think I tried to hide blemishes with too much make-up - had let someone put a "warm" red tone on my hair, and... well... yuck. Hubby looks cute, though.

OK - so here ya go.... A story here on salmonella and eggs. Just beware - does not seem to affect our region. And... here - what I'm been obsessing on lately.... how NOT to lose your temper (i.e. yell) when kids are acting up (perfect timing on this article - must be some summer angst a brewin' all over - and, on my end, I've already told them all to "shut up" this morning - and, at one time, my Olivia thought that was a swear word to give you ANY idea of how far my parenting skills have deteriorated with the addition of each wild child - and, today, hands shaking, stomach aching, I am LOSIN' IT). And... finally ... same mag - a story on "is your child a public menace?" Hmmm.... wonder who that applies to?

Top Chef tonight.... don't miss it!


Sue said...

OK, I'll bite...
Having limited time myself to work personal style, I agree it's not an excuse and actually works to your disadvantage. So I paint my nails and wash up pretty nicely and have recently spent some money on some clothes that I DON'T detest (they seem to be everywhere) and...Here goes: I've started reading Elle again like I used to. Ideas, inspiration and the NYT fashion page are pulling me out of the rut. Yay. You're right Sherri -- most of it is self-acceptance and a sense of humor.

Sherri said...

Sue - I ALWAYS think of you as having one the coolest new beauty products (you can peruse the beauty counter - Lancome to Mac ... and X out all the crap and zero in on like the best "body sugar" shower scrub or the most decadent face cream.... I used to covet your beauty products all the time and / or copy what you did / bought at the make up counter. Same with clothes.... your fab coats in college....your always the right fit jeans.... your pretty hair (I know - I can hear you ranting about friz and humidity right now....)...

Erin said...

I'm with you on the never liking the way you look in pictures. I had a baby 5 months ago and although I'm almost back to my pre-pregnancy weight, I can't get rid of the pooch. My belly now jiggles when I sneeze. Gross. But I am trying to wear my new body imperfections (stretch marks and all) as a badge of honor for surviving pregnancy and entering motherhood. I do have a tip, however, for looking marginally more slim in photos. Try the skinny-arm. It's a slightly angled stance towards your "good side" with hand to hip and shoulders back. Beware though, if you're in a shot with friends who are all doing the "skinny-arm". The end result is a photo that looks like you are on stage at a beauty pageant.

Sherri said...

Erin - You probably missed an earlier post of mine in which I was horrified to view a photo of me frolicking with my two year old (earlier this summer) and... my gut and my arms were flabby and chunked out.... my belly like the baby should be more of a 2 month old (at least I'd have an excuse ;-). Will try the skinny - arm technique in photos - seriously - really will ... cuz I have big, ex-gymnast "man arms" :-).

Facie said...

There is a balance between doing what you can do to look good/be healthy and accepting what you look like (or at least not getting too worked up about it). I have been at both extremes, and neither is that good.

I am at the more accepting end now; however, I did just discover that my butt is not rounded. I knew it was big (my kid often tells me so in case I forget!), but the shape that it is? I had no idea. Ignorance was bliss!

Anyway, I think it is great that you are in all those pictures. And cool that you have changed so much. I don't have a very colorful evolution. Dressing down has been a big part of most of my life. In fact, one reason I picked Penn State was because the students were dressed in sweats when I was there.

Emily said...

Sherri, you are way too hard on yourself, I think! And it's funny, I like the photo of you and Marcello the best. But that just goes to show how our own perceptions about ourselves can be so ... well, we are mean to ourselves as women, I think. I have avoided sleeveless shirts for my entire life, until last week, when I bought a pretty tank for my upcoming vacation. By god, these are my arms, they are the only arms I have, and I am just going to wear this pretty shirt anyhow!